Me, Popcorn and The Oscars: The Oscars 2017 Final Nomination Predictions

I promised a nomination prediction a couple of days before the Oscars announced their nominations, and here it is. I have found that most people don’t really know or care about nominations like “Best Sound Mixing” and “Best Production Design”, and because I don’t know much about that either, I have limited my predictions to the bigger awards. I hope nobody minds this. If you do, there are a lot of other predictions you could read.

820147_ab38338a8c635c631080a4a2a55842db

Best Picture (First set of five)

  • La La Land
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight
  • Arrival
  • Hacksaw Ridge

nocturnal-animals-poster

Best Picture (Second set of five; in the case that the Academy chooses—like in previous years—to nominate more than five)

  • Fences
  • Hell or High Water
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Silence
  • 20th Century Women
  • Hidden Figures

mv5bnzqxntiyodaxmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzqymda3ote-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_

Best Director

  • Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”)
  • Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”)
  • Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester by the Sea”)
  • Tom Ford (“Nocturnal Animals”)
  • Denis Villeneuve (“Arrival”)

maxresdefault

Best Actor

  • Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”)
  • Andrew Garfield (“Hacksaw Ridge”)
  • Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”)
  • Denzel Washington (“Fences”)
  • Colin Farrel (“The Lobster)

arrival_amy_adams_screenshot_h_2016

Best Actress

  • Amy Adams (“Arrival”)
  • Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”)
  • Natalie Portman (“Jackie”)
  • Emma Stone (“La La Land”)
  • Annette Bening (“20th Century Women”)

6ab71d47a402693339a3734125b04b6d

Best Supporting Actor

  • Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”)
  • Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”)
  • Hugh Grant (“Florence Foster Jenkins”)
  • Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”)
  • Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”)

viola

Best Supporting Actress

  • Viola Davis (“Fences”)
  • Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”)
  • Nicole Kidman (“Lion”)
  • Felicity Jones (“A Monster Calls”)
  • Michelle Williams (“Manchester By the Sea”)

womenposter

Best Original Screenplay

  • “20th Century Women” (Mike Mills)
  • “The Lobster” (Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos)
  • “La La Land” (Damien Chazelle)
  • “Manchester by the Sea” (Kenneth Lonergan)
  • “Jackie” (Noah Oppenheim)

arrival-poster-russia

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “Arrival” (Eric Heisserer)
  • “Fences” (August Wilson)
  • “Loving” (Jeff Nichols)
  • “Nocturnal Animals” (Tom Ford)
  • “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney)

kubo-main_0

Best Animated Feature

  • “Finding Dory” (Pixar/Disney)
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings” (Focus Features)
  • “Moana” (Disney)
  • “My Life as a Zucchini” (Gkids)
  • “Zootopia” (Disney)

justin_timberlake_-_cant_stop_the_feeling

Best Original Song

  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” (Justin Timberlake, “Trolls”)
  • “City of Stars” (Ryan Gosling, “La La Land”)
  • “How Far I’ll Go” (Auli’i Cravalho, “Moana”)
  • “Faith” (Stevie Wonder, “Sing”)
  • “Never Give Up” (Sia, “Lion”)

maxresdefault-1

Best Foreign Language Film

  • The Handmaiden (South Korea)
  • “It’s Only the End of the World” (Canada)
  • “A Man Called Ove” (Sweden)
  • “The Salesman” (Iran)
  • “Toni Erdmann” (Germany)
Advertisements

Me, Popcorn and the Oscars: “Nocturnal Animals”, Tom Ford’s Sophmore Film is Not One to Miss This Season

Metaphorical, cyclical, hypnotizing, “Nocturnal Animals” is a deep and different tale of vengeance and obsession. It certainly isn’t perfect, and sometimes director Tom Ford misses, but he’s always clear as to where he’s shooting.

*Obvious Spoiler Alert!*

20161014175110nocturnal_animals_poster

I will do a small recount on who is who in the movie, because it may be difficult to remember everyone by name. Again, if you haven’t watched the movie, stop reading, otherwise this might get confusing.

Susan: Protagonist in the real world.

Edward: Susan’s ex-husband.

Tony: Protagonist in Edward’s novel (played by the same actor, though).

Laura: Tony’s wife.

India: Tony and Laura’s daughter.

Ray: The rapist and killer of Laura and India.

Hutton: Susan’s new husband.

    The good things (what I liked)

  • The acting. The acting is this movie is outstanding. Not only are Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal extremely good, but every other actor in the movie shines (Isla Fisher, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon and even Laura Linney, who appears in only one scene).
  • The cinematographic juxtaposition of the two stories is something I enjoyed very much. Aesthetically speaking, the two stories in the movie are complete opposites. One is in West Texas, rough, rural, dirty, desertic. The other is an almost-futuristic look at New York: full of contemporary art, glamorous and pompous dresses, and shallow relationships.

NE5f4T6KPofp88_1_b.jpg

  • It is extremely interesting how Edward writes a novel that, although plotwise is not like his life, symbolically, it is (or at leats, it was). We never meet Edward in the present (only through Susan’s flashbacks), but in a way, it is evident he sees Susan as Ray (the guy who raped and killed Laura and India). Susan, in the real world, left Edward and aborted his child, thus Edward was left wifeless and childless. This mirrors with Tony’s search for vengeance in the novel. The novel isn’t and shouldn’t be a mystery of if Tony’s family was murdered or not, but a reflection on the hole he was left with, which is the same hole Edward was left with in the real world. Probably because Edward couldn’t really get his vengeance in the real world, he had to write this novel. Although, not to spoil too much, but in the end, he kind of sort of does get  vengeance.
  • I liked the fact that we don’t see Edward directly. We see him through Susan’s perspective in her flashbacks, but never alone, and never in the present story.
  • The scene between Susan and her mother in a flashback is really interesting. We’ve seen Susan in the future, where she is cold and much like her mother, and then we see the flashback, and it’s interesting to see how she, at one point, hated being that.
  • The ending sequence. The movie is worth watching only because of Amy Adam’s last scene. Some of you might not understand why I say this, maybe you don’t think the same as I, but let me explain. Yes, it may be hard to cry, to scream, to smile, to blush, to seem crazy, to appear naked on screen, to make dialogues believable, and here she does nothing like that; in this last shot, probably only five seconds long, Susan doesn’t say a word, and doesn’t make any exaggerated or overly dramatic facial expression, however, Adams portrays total devastation and inner destruction. Edward destroys Susan by not showing up, and she sees finally how her life will never change, and how she chose this, and how she’ll never be happy. When casting Adams, director Tom Ford told her he wanted to know how her character feels, and this is why she said she accepted the role. And this is true throughout the movie. Most of the character’s turmoils are interior and rarely spoken to someone, so Adams had to do a lot of silent scenes where she is just reading and thinking. But in no scene does this show better than in this one (the picture below is not of that scene, though. I couldn’t find the right one).

nocturnalanimals

  • This movie is by Tom Ford, and guessing by the two films he’s done (A Single Man and this one, both spectacular), you’ll want to keep on eye on this one.
  • The beginning of the movie. The first five minutes or so are long shots of fat, old women dancing naked. Ultimately, it is explained that this is part of an Art Exhibition in Susan’s gallery, but this sequence gave me a lot to think about. The movie is deeply metaphorical, so I think of this sequence as a symbol for the movie, how we sometimes try to ignore, push down and set aside those things we don’t want to confront, both in society and in our personal lives.
  • Finally, the clothes are gorgeous, the makeup is impeccable, and Jeff Koons!!!!

9bd80a91-0f5f-4e74-a3e1-59cc380f3141.jpg

    The bad things (what I didn’t like)

  • Sometimes the characters are described too straightforwardly, and with only two or three characteristics (e.g. dreamer, weak, pragmatic, etc).
  • The ending of the novel is quite unsatisfying for my taste. Tony dying is a moralistic ending, in the sense that I feel it more as a way of saying “vengeance is never good” or “vengeance doesn’t bring happy endings”. Also, it is somewhat unbelievable the way he died, falling over his own gun.
  • Okay, so in a way, Ray’s character is somewhat overly dramatic, the acting is over-the-top, and he’s extremely two-dimensional. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Normally this is bad, but here I’m not so sure. I put it in the bad things because I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, and the good side had too many things. This is why it may be okay for Ray to be an exaggeratedly disgusting and evil character: probably, that’s how Edward sees Susan. He feels disgusted by her, and he has no compassion towards her, and being that Ray is partially a symbol for Susan, then maybe Edward didn’t want to humanize him and make him likable.d29da31c2293b3d5a550baa0af439d31
  • Some story lines were flat, for example, why did Ford need to introduce Susan’s daughter if she literally had no impact on the plot, and never came up back again after her thirty-seconds scene.
  • The film needed at least, twenty to forty more minutes, or some time distribution. At times, especially at the start of the movie and with the flashbacks, the pacing was too quick. The movie needed to take its time. The novel took too much time of the movie, and I think at times Ford forgot the main story was Susan’s and not Tony’s. There were three story lines (Susan’s in the present, Susan’s in the past and Tony’s), and this was too much. The flashbacks had a lot of time jumps that made that plot line move too quickly (for example, one day she met him, the next flashback she’s married, and then the next she’s already unhappy).
  • The whole relationship between Susan’s gay brother and his wife (yes, you read that right) was interesting, but because it was never developed or talked again after they’re introduced, it seemed flat and unnecessary. It seemed more an excuse to introduce some of Susan and Hutton’s problems than an actual insight into another relationship.

    Who would I (or wouldn’t I) recommend it to

I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes interesting, complex movies, centered more on characters than plot, and movies that you want to see again, just to see if you catch something else. Also, people who like to read, or watch movies with adapted screenplays.

    Best scene or dialogue (if there was any that stood out)

1478657048_focusfeatures_nocturnalanimals_tomford_amyadams_jakegyllenhaal_aarontaylorjohnson_michaelshannon_linney_bio-796x415

  • As I said before, that final shot at Amy Adam’s face was enough to watch the whole thing, but besides that, probably the best scene is Susan’s conversation with her mother.
  • Also, the first scene of the novel, when Laura and India are kidnapped was excruciatingly painful to watch (in a good way, for a scene so dark that’s easy to watch, is not a good scene).

    Who stole the show?

Most people think Shannon stole the show, but personally, he wasn’t the best. For a white male critic, it is obvious why Tony’s story might be more interesting, and Shannon (or even Taylor-Johnson) might be a favorite, but for me, Amy Adams stole the show. She probably won’t get nominated for this, because she has also “Arrival”, and because she is in the weird place in between Lead and Supporting actress. She is the main character, but because the novel takes out so much time of the movie, she wasn’t always on screen.

    Do I predict this movie will have any actual nominations?

Some, but not many. Maybe some for a supporting role (Taylor-Johnson got nominated for a Golden Globe, but Shannon was more talked about, so who knows). Also, probably the adapted screenplay may get a nomination, director and costumes design would also not surprise me. But I don’t think it will win any of the big 5 (Movie, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay).

6ab71d47a402693339a3734125b04b6d

    Overall thoughts

Metaphorical, cyclical, hypnotizing, “Nocturnal Animals” is a deep and different tale of vengeance and obsession. It certainly isn’t perfect, and sometimes director Tom Ford misses, but he’s always clear as to where he’s shooting.

    How many stars?

4/5

Me, Popcorn and the Oscars: Watching Movies and Making Reviews

87th

So, it’s that time of year people! Golden Globe nominations come out tomorrow (December 12th) and we’re just one month and some more days for the actual Oscar nominations to become public (January 24th). And I got to accept, I love this season: I love the movies, the anticipation, the drama….

And this year is an especially interesting year because the Oscars could actually go in a direction they normally don’t gravitate towards: actually artistic, indie films. Of course, there are still the politically correct frontrunners like “Sully”, “Moonlight”, “Silence” or “Fences” (this is not to say that these movies aren’t good, they just are more typical-Oscar material), but there is some talk about more deep, experimental or lower-budget movies being nominated, like the popular surrealist musical “La La Land”, the meta-thriller “Nocturnal Animals”, the philosophical sci-fi “Arrival”, the feminist dramedy “20th Century Women”, or the Cannes-nominated, and critically acclaimed “Loving”, “The Handmaiden”, “Elle” and “The Lobster”.

Last year a similar buzz followed movies like “Carol”, “Ex Machina” and “The Danish Girl”, but neither of these were finally nominated. I mention this just to let readers know that, even if there is buzz, this doesn’t mean these movies will actually be nominated.

Anyway, the point of this post is to let you know I’ll be doing a personal experiment. I will watch as many of these movies (and other Oscar-worthy movies), and for each I’ll write a [hopefully] small review following the next format:

    The good things (what I liked)
    The bad things (what I didn’t like)
    Who would I (or wouldn’t I) recommend it to
    Best scene or dialogue (if there was any that stood out)
    Who stole the show? 
    Do I predict this movie will have any actual nominations?
    Overall thoughts
    How many stars?

Also, I will do a prediction before the nominations as to who will get nominated (this I will try to do a day or two before the announcement), and a final prediction on who will win and who should win (this, I will try to do a day or two before the ceremony). I hope you all like this and follow me through this experiment, and if you want me to change something, or want to let me know about something, please comment.

Have a great night!

—S